BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - I am very ready for spring and all the produce that goes along with it.  This hearty side dish really serves as a transitional dish using vegetables and preparations usually associated with colder months tossed in a sauce and served cold as you would any hearty salad during the warmer months.  Hopefully you will find this dish refreshing yet filling with hints of warmer weather food that will be upon us very soon.

Ingredients:
3-4 Pounds small roasting potatoes
1 Bulb fennel, thinly sliced
½ Onion, very thinly sliced
1 Cup coarsely chopped parsley
1 Cup vegetable or neutral tasting oil (I used grapeseed)
¼ Cup olive oil, plus more
1 Teaspoon dried tarragon
1 Tablespoon capers
2 Tablespoons sweet pickles, diced
1 Clove garlic, diced
1 Shallot, diced
3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
2 Very fresh egg yolks

Instructions:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Make the Mayonnaise: 

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  • Using a food processor, place both Dijon mustards, the garlic clove, half the diced shallot, egg yolks, and dried tarragon in the processor bowl and pulse into all ingredients are incorporated and begin to look smooth.
  • Measure out the oil in a measuring cup with a lip.  Turn the food processor back on and drip by drip, very slowly add the oil to the food processor.  In the beginning it’s really important to add the oil slowly or it will not emulsify and the mayonnaise will not come together (very frustrating when that happens!).
  • As you slowly begin to emulsify the mayonnaise, you can start adding the oil a little faster than before though it is still important to go slowly.  Slowly add all the oil until the mayonnaise is thick.  Turn off the machine.
  • Add the remainder of the diced shallot, the capers, and the dill pickles.  Pulse two or three more times to incorporate.
  • Add a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Then refrigerate while you prepare the remainder of the dish.

Make the Potatoes and Fennel:

  • Cut the small potatoes in half and place in a large bowl.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top.  Add some salt and fresh cracked pepper to the bowl and toss to coat.
  • Place the potatoes on a roasting sheet and roast for 25 minutes.  At that point, check the potatoes to see if they are browned on the bottom yet.  If so, flip them over.  If not, cook another 10 minutes and check again.  Roast them until they are nicely browned and once, browned, flip them over and cook another 10-15 minutes until completely cooked.
  • While the potatoes are roasting, use a mandolin or a very sharp knife and slice the fennel as thinly as you can.  Place sliced fennel in a bowl and drizzle a bit of olive oil over them and add a pinch of salt.
  • Thinly slice the onion half and add to the fennel.  Toss everything together to coat.
  • Once the potatoes are browned and roasted, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
  • Once cool, add the potatoes to the fennel and onion.  Add 4 or 5 Tablespoons of the mayonnaise and toss, coating all the vegetables.  If you feel you need to add more, please do so to taste.
  • Once that is done, add the coarsely chopped parsley and toss again.
  • Place in the refrigerator and allow to cool. 

Serve while cool or cold. I made a roasted chicken and a salad to pair with this dish but it will really go well with any meal where traditional potato salad or a potato side dish is served.

Craig Thiebaud of Berkeley Heights is a Diplomat of Classic Culinary Arts at the International Culinary Center (formerly The French Culinary Institute) located in SOHO in New York City. After extensive training in the Art of French cooking and professional food preparation in general, he brings his knowledge of food and passion for cooking to us by sharing culinary techniques and creating recipes that mainly use local, seasonal ingredients and can be easily recreated in the home kitchen. Good, wholesome meals for the family can be created quickly with planning, using the best techniques with the best ingredients that are both affordable and available. Let's get back into the kitchen together!